The South Korean government plans to submit a bill that will enable it to track and freeze crypto assets used by North Korea for its weapons program, local media outlet Korea JonngAng Daily reported on Sept. 4.
The National Intelligence Service initially introduced the bill in Nov. 2022. Subsequently, President Yoon Suk Yeon issued orders for revisions, leading to a ten-month-long process involving collaborations with various government agencies.
The revised bill has one notable inclusion, which entails provisions for the monitoring and mitigating of cryptocurrency assets stolen by North Korea through hacking activities. Furthermore, the bill seeks to augment the sanctions against the neighboring nation.
North Korea is linked to various crypto hacks.
North Korea, already grappling with severe economic sanctions from Western powers and allies, increasingly relies on ill-gotten crypto assets and proceeds from illicit ventures. The Asian country has been accused of sponsoring hackers who exploit crypto projects to finance their weapons program from the United Nations and other Western superpowers.
For context, the U.S. has traced back several crypto breaches to North Korea-affiliated hacker-controlled wallets, such as the Ronin bridge exploit, which saw the theft of over $600 million in assets.
Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics firm, estimates North Korean hackers have stolen over $3 billion in the past five years. South Korean intelligence reports a staggering $1.2 billion in BTC and ETH stolen by North Korea in 2022 alone. A CryptoSlate report revealed that North Korean-backed hackers had stolen $497 million in cryptocurrencies from U.S. businesses since 2017.
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